The Mareit river basin presents a drainage area of 212 km2 and ranges in elevation between 3471 m and 935 m a.s.l., joining the Eisack river near the city of Sterzing/Vipiteno. Lithologically, the basin is characterized by paragneiss in its upper part and by micaschists in the lower one. The present total extension of glaciers is about 9 km2, which determines a marked nivo-glacial flow regime, with diurnal cycles in summer. The mean annual precipitation in the valley is about 1000 mm, and the mean annual discharge of the Mareit river is approximately 7 m3 s-1 (Autonomous Province of Bolzano, 2010).
The 3 km-long semi-confined reach downstream of the Mareit village and upstream of the Jaufentalbach fan, featuring a mean slope of 1.7%, has been heavily modified over the last century both in width and in the morphological pattern, by channelization and construction of several grade-control structures. In this reach, the Department of Hydraulic Engineering of the Autonomous Province of Bolzano have carried out a massive restoration intervention in 2009 entailing the removal of all the check-dams as well as of bank protections. Only two bed sills have not been demolished. The channel has been widened considerably such that now a braided pattern is clearly visible, and vegetation has started to encroach lateral and mid-channel bars.